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Mephedrone, a highly stimulating synthetic drug

Mephedrone, a highly stimulating synthetic drug

The mephedrone, 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) or Miau meow, among many other names, is a psychoactive drug and a potent stimulant that temporarily improves mental function, physical function or both. It is a synthetic stimulant.

It is known to produce a mixture of effects similar to those of other drugs such as cocaine and the Ecstasy or MDMA, Besides having entactogenic effects (with an increase in empathy and feelings of affiliation and closeness towards others).

Content

  • 1 What is mephedrone?
  • 2 Main effects of mephedrone
  • 3 Side effects and risks of mephedrone

What is mephedrone?

Mephedrone is part of a group of medications closely related to amphetamines, as the methamphetamine (speed) and ecstasy. There are not many studies on mephedrone and its long-term effects, since it is a fairly new drug, but since it is similar to methamphetamine and ecstasy, the long-term effects can be very similar.

Mephedrone is considered a recreational drug. This means that people use it from time to time to have fun, and there is no medical justification for its psychoactive effects.

It is chemically similar to compounds that can be synthesized from catinone, a substance found in the plant. khat (cathulla edullis) from East Africa.

It comes in the form of tablets or powder, which users can swallow, inhale, inject or insert rectally, producing effects that are similar to those of MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine.

The mephedrone was first synthesized in 1929 and given the name of toluyl-alpha-monomethylaminoethyl ketone, but was not widely disclosed until 2003, when it was "rediscovered." In 2007 its sale was detected for the first time through the Internet, in 2008 the security agencies already knew the compound, and in 2010 it had already become popular in most of Europe, becoming particularly known in the United Kingdom.

Other popular names of the mephedrone are MCAT, bubbles, drone, meow-meow, white magic and M-smack.

Main effects of mephedrone

Physical effects of mephedrone

  • Euphoria and stimulating effect: Mephedrone is an extremely stimulating and energetic compound. This means that it promotes the realization of activities that involve a lot of movement such as running or dancing, for this reason it is a very popular drug in musical events such as parties, concerts, discos, etc. But there is a danger that, at high doses, it is difficult or impossible to remain still, bruxism (clenching and grinding the teeth), body shaking and involuntary movements may occur, which causes extreme instability of the hands and a general lack of motor control.
  • Physical sensations: At the time of greatest effect of mephedrone a sensation of tingling may appear between moderate and high that covers the entire body. This usually feels like something pleasant for the consumer. This sensation begins with the onset of the effects of the drug and increases progressively until reaching its maximum limit at the time of greatest effect of mephedrone.
  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency
  • Vasoconstriction: Some mephedrone users have cold fingers and lips or even become bluish, indicating vasoconstriction.
  • Elevation of blood presure
  • Dehydration: Dry mouth and dehydration is a side effect of mephedrone. All this is a product of the increase in heart rate, in addition to its consumption generates an increase in perspiration and an uncontrolled impulse to participate in strenuous physical activities. It is therefore important to avoid dehydration, especially when dancing in a hot environment, but there is also the possibility of suffering intoxication from drinking too much alcohol, so it is recommended that consumers simply drink water and nothing else.
  • Difficulty urinating: at high doses, mephedrone causes difficulty urinating, an effect that is temporary.
  • Alteration of body odor: Mephedrone can leave a very distinctive and unpleasant smell in the urine, sweat and general body secretions, which is often described as a smell similar to cat urine.
  • Feeling of tactile improvement
  • Blurry vision: The eyeballs of a person who has consumed mephedrone may begin to move spontaneously from side to side with rapid movement, causing vision to become blurred and temporarily out of focus, a condition known as nystagmus.

Cognitive effects of mephedrone

The psychological effects of this substance intensify progressively proportionally to the dose. But the main effect is described by many as one of extreme mental stimulation and powerful euphoria. It has a lot of cognitive effects, the most prominent are:

  • Cognitive euphoria: the mephedrone generates intense emotional euphoria and feelings of happiness, and is likely to be a direct result of the release of serotonin and dopamine.
  • Acceleration of thought
  • Feeling of security
  • Disinhibition
  • Empathy, feelings of love and improvement of sociability: this particular effect, although something different is perceived, is also much less potent than the same effect that traditional entactogenic drugs such as MDMA or 2C-B.
  • Increased libido
  • Time distortion: An intense sense of compression of time is generated, which causes the experience of the passage of time to be significantly accelerated.
  • Motivation Improvement
  • Increase in musical appreciation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Side effects and risks of mephedrone

Mephedrone is a recreational drug that carries a number of health risks.

Some studies show that prolonged use of mephedrone may cause paranoia, depression, hallucinations and severe panic attacks, as well as adverse effects on the heart, arteries and kidneys.

Excessive stimulation of the central nervous system can also generate headaches, insomnia and rapid heartbeat.

People who inhale the drug may have nosebleeds and damage to tissues and structures inside the nose. The medicine can cause teeth grinding, nausea, vomiting and a suppressed appetite.

It has also been related to the impotence.

Several deaths have been linked to the use of the drug.

More and more people consume mephedrone by injecting it. This implies a risk of infection, for example, with hepatitis C or HIV, as well as damage to the veins, such as abscesses, blood clots and even gangrene.

Unlike many other recreational drugs, such as amphetamines and ecstasy, mephedrone was not developed as a drug in the first place, but in clandestine laboratories. For this reason it has not been previously tested in humans and it is not known what the medium or long-term effects could be, in addition to many of the short-term effects. Most countries have already banned or restricted its use since 2014.

References

//onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.12628/full
//www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/mephedrone
//www.talkingdrugs.org/author-of-new-mephedrone-study-discusses-his-findings